Open Utility unveils Britain’s first online peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable energy

Piclo - power to the people
Piclo – promises power to the people

Tech company Open Utility has released the findings of its six‐month trial of Piclo –  Britain’s  first  online  peer‐to‐peer  marketplace  for  renewable  energy which, for the first time in the UK, allows consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly.

Findings from the six‐ month  trial  indicate that  local  markets  are  the  future  of  a  decentralised  energy  economy and that significant savings can be achieved by making grid charges fairer through local matching ‐ if Piclo is widely adopted alongside.

The Piclo trial was a collaboration between energy start-up Open Utility  and  green energy provider Good Energy with funding from leading tech for good investor Nominet Trust and The  Energy  Entrepreneurs  Fund  scheme  run  by  The  Department of Energy  and  Climate Change (DECC).

As well as Cardiff council, the  trial  generator  participants  included  community  energy  groups,  private  developers and family‐owned  and  charity  sites.

It gives consumers and generators the tools and data needed to allow them complete choice  and  control,  whilst  also  providing  electricity  retailers  groundbreaking insights into their customers purchasing decisions. 

Piclo takes in all the price and preference information and matches electricity demand and supply every  half  an  hour. Energy provider Good Energy helped ensure  that  the  marketplace  is  always balanced, purchasing surplus power, or providing 100% renewable top‐up when required. 

James Johnston, Chief Executive, Open Utility, said: “We believe peer‐to‐peer local energy matching could unlock billions of pounds of additional revenue for renewable generation technologies in Great Britain and overseas, heralding an age of decentralised and clean electricity.

“We are now in a perfect position to maximise the benefit from the smart meter roll-out to 30 million households and businesses across Wales, Scotland and England by the end of 2020 alongside the recognition by OFGEM  that  it  is  in  consumers’  interests  for bills to  be  settled  against  half‐hourly consumption data.”

Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive, Good Energy, said: “The Piclo pilot has provided a glimpse of what a future powered purely by renewables could look like, with everything from rooftop solar to community wind turbines playing a role”.

Meanwhile, Wales-based renewables developer Dulas has partnered with Italian energy efficiency business, Innovatec, to provide energy management services for high energy users to assist with the move towards demand reduction and onsite renewable energy generation.

The joint venture, known as the Intelligent Energy Management Service will enable business in energy intensive industries to employ cost-saving energy efficiency methods to create a new demand side profile. Only when this profile is fully understood will renewable energy options be considered and deployed.

By introducing this integrated approach, the service will, for the first time, provide businesses with an intelligent and adaptive system that enables them to predict long-term power use, and subsequently de-risk a large percentage of future energy costs.

Alistair Marsden, Sales Director, Dulas, explained: “As much of Europe moves into a post-subsidy landscape, we have to look at new ways of delivering renewable energy projects that provide value for their end users.”

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